Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Officially Intelligent!!!!

It's been 2 years.  And according to Chopper they've been painful, long years.  I don't know though, I don't think he suffered too much . . . 

It's actually been official for a few weeks but we wanted to wait to announce until it came in the mail:

Yes finally!  Chopper has a Master's Degree in INTELLIGENCE.  Yes that's an actual subject of study and no it doesn't mean that he can spell any better.  It does mean that he could work for anyone who needs a smart employee though. 

All joking aside, I am very very proud of him.  This is a man who, when we married, had no college education whatsoever (which is not necessarily a bad thing, I don't mean to sound derogatory) and has been working hard these last ten years to get the education that he needs to advance in his career and provide for us in a way that makes him happy.  That's a pretty big deal!!

So we made him his favorite, chocolate chip cookies, to celebrate!!

And these are just funny pictures of the girls after they stamped their faces with the stamps my Aunt Laura sent them.  Thank goodness they wash right off.  Megan is particularly endearing here though -- these are "Gasser" faces she's pulling.  They have an uncanny resemblance to my brother Jeff's graduation photo -- minus the blacked out tooth.  But that's another story.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Smiles All Around

While everyone else is headed off to the first day of school, I took both girls in for their first ever dentist appointment.  It was an adventure that surprisingly went really well.

Unfortunately, Megan has developed a genuine fear of surgical gloves.  Yes you read that right.  But think about it -- Our doctor doesn't wear gloves just to do her well-child checks, but the nurses who have given her shots and taken her blood have all worn gloves.  So when the hygenist pulled on those gloves, Megan started to cry and get very upset about blood.  After reassuring her that there was no blood taking or shots involved, she submitted to 2 x-rays while continuing to look very upset and have a quivering lip.  Then came the exam.

Correction -- then came Abby's exam.  Megan still wasn't calm enough to proceed so the doctor wisely started with Abby -- who cooperated, never cried, did everything they asked her to, and was completely and totally fine.

Megan cried the entire time Abby's exam went on.

Then it was time for Megan's exam.  She cried through the scraping (although who can blame her, I hate that part) and then started laughing when they cleaned her teeth.  She laughed the entire rest of the time and was fine after that.  In fact, she just asked me if we can go do it again.

She is my emotional rollercoaster child for sure.  I fear the coming teenage years.

William slept part of the time and then was awake but was golden.  So it actually went very well.
These are their shiny, sparkly smiles:

William has also been smiling -- mostly for Chopper.  Chop does a great job of tickling his bottom lip just right.

 Ok not smiling here -- but it's a really cute concerned face!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I have 13 minutes to tell you about my day and then I am going to bed!  Ready?

I took a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a 6 weeker to the zoo today.  Crazy!!  My good friend Jenn invited me along so she was there of course and her 8-year old son is the BEST kid ever and lifted Abby to see animals and helped keep an eye on her.  It was fabulous!

William slept pretty much the entire time -- oh except for that part where I fed him, sat him up to be burped, and he immediately threw up.  Not spit up -- projectile vomit milk.  Fortunately, due to the forceful nature of this projectile we both remained dry.  The car seat sitting at my feet did not.  And it's in the wash as we speak.

Megan's favorite part was the zoo map (I'm not kidding).  Abby really did love the animals.  William loved his sleep.  I loved the weather (upper 80s, maybe 90 or 92 by the time we left) and getting out of the house!

And, as Grandma requested: PICTURES GALORE!!
 Dressed for church.

 Abby loves William AND all his stuff.

 His thinking pose.  This is a few days ago -- tonight he was a screaming banshee for about an hour and half -- and that's not this cute.

 At the zoo for the first time and he didn't see a thing!  Look at those cheeks though!

 Flamingos!  Apparently you have the Chilean flamingo and the Lesser flamingo -- I wonder how they feel about that?

 All the kids minus the babies -- mine and Jenn's (who's actually not a baby anymore).  I actually love that this is a terrible picture!  I particularly love that Megan has her arms crossed in defiance.

And then there's this about 15 seconds later.  I'm not kidding.  You can kind've tell that we're still on the train.  And she's such a doll when she smiles!

 Abby loved this bear -- I think it was sizing her up for lunch.

My ADORABLE, but not so little man.  I took dinner to a friend tonight who just had her baby Sunday.  The baby weighs 6 lbs. 10 oz. right now which isn't a whole lot smaller than William when he was born but he's probably double her size.  Grandma I hope you can see the fat rolls on those legs!

It turned out to be a great day, but I think we'll probably stay home tomorrow!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day One

I've been dairy free now for almost two weeks and I'm not really seeing a whole lot of improvement in William.  There seems to be a lot of range as to how quickly (or how NOT quickly), a child will improve once the mom has gone dairy free so I'm biting the bullet and going wheat / gluten free too.


Can I just tell you how grateful I am that I do NOT have Celiac disease?  Because gluten free foods are expensive!  And I can't figure out why.  Rice is cheap -- so why isn't rice flour or rice milk?  Oats are cheap.  So why is it nearly 4 times as much to buy oats that simply haven't been processed on equipment that's handled wheat?  Chex cereal is cheap but a "gluten-free" cereal?  You get the picture -- it's just completely ridiculous.

Soooo, since I refuse to spend an arm and a leg on this (although I think a hand and a foot went down the drain today), and since I also refuse to make two separate dinners every night, my diet is now mostly elimination.  So what do I eat?

Most of the special gluten-free foods I actually purchased today are breakfast foods.  I can't eat eggs every morning.  But my options will be eggs and gluten-free toast, oats (yes gluten-free expensive ones) and gluten-free pancakes.  Lunch --salads, pb&j on rice cakes, chicken salad, tuna, etc.  And dinners are going to be rice or potato based, meat, veggies, etc.  So tonight we had rice, chicken, and corn on the cob -- a good, normal meal.

I'm hoping that William will get better soon and I'll be able to add one or the other back in -- preferably dairy.  I miss cheese!!  And sour cream!!  And ICE CREAM!!!
So wish me luck.  And willpower.  And the ability to find good munchies.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's Been A Month!

I can't believe it's been a month.  Especially after the last few months before the birth went SOOOOOOOO slowly, I'm a little in shock that (tomorrow) William is a month old.

So, at one month old:
William looks a lot like Abby, but there are times when his head is distinctly Megan.  It will be interesting to see how it all shapes up.
From day one (literally), he has slept through the night -- at least in the sense that he wakes up to eat and goes right back to sleep.  This has been HEAVENLY since both my girls were night owls.  Granted, I'm still getting up every 2 or 3 hours to nurse, but at least I can go back to bed afterwards!  I'm tired, but not exhausted and that has made a big difference.
His congestion continues -- I'm still off dairy (as far as I can tell) but I might take him to the doctor this week and see if they have any other suggestions for me.
He is rolling over.  I am not kidding.  Apparently he is not a fan of tummy time (another Megan characteristic) -- and I have the proof!!

My favorite things about this stage of life are the cuddling and the sleeping.  I love when they're so small that they just curl up into a little bean on my chest.

And the sleeping -- well my kids have never been big fans of the swaddle -- they want to stretch and move and sleep like this.  I love it.  Free!  Finally free!!

Yesterday Megan and Abby painted with homemade puffy paint.  It was an interesting experiment and a whole lot easier to clean up than store bought stuff.  It's a very simple recipe: 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup flour, and a few drops of food coloring.  Mix it up, pour in a squeeze bottle and "draw".  It's supposed to dry sparkly (because of the salt), and it did -- sort've.  It's shiny but not sparkly like glitter.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lifestyle Change

Ahh the days of babyhood.  Nursing every hour or two.  No sleep.  Having to carry someone around with you all the time.  I'd forgotten what it was like to have a newborn in the house!

We are surviving without my mom so far which is very good news.  Unfortunately, William continues to be congested and a little rashy and it seems that the common consensus is that he may have a sensitivity to dairy.  So I've gone cold turkey on dairy and let me tell you, it's hard!  

Of course part of the problem is that I immediately want what I can't have (of course)!  But when you're hard-wired for one thing, it's hard to let go.  I can't sneak cheese when I'm grating it for dinner, I can't eat Megan or Abby's leftovers, I'm reading all the labels when I shop, and I have to consciously remind myself to pour almond milk on my cereal rather than regular milk.  Oh and dairy free butter does NOT make good garlic bread.  At least only my piece was ruined.  

But I have been surprised by the things I'm not missing out on.  Unsweetened almond milk is pretty darn close to regular milk -- I'm not drinking it but it's fine for substitutions in baking and pouring on cereal and oatmeal.  Almond Dream ice cream -- pretty darn good!  One hard thing is that I absolutely refuse to make 2 meals.  After all, some days it can be hard enough to get one on the table!  So finding delicious, dairy-free meals that we don't have to repeat over and over may be a bit of a challenge.  I am open for recipes!!

Which reminds me, what am I making for dinner tonight???

Monday, August 6, 2012


I love baby blessing days.  I love the celebration of the new little one and the special Spirit that comes with a blessing from their father.  It felt really good to be back in church and to have our parents join us for the occasion.  I am blessed to have a wonderful husband, wonderful parents and in-laws, and these 3 children who drive me nuts, make me laugh, come up with funny things, and enrich my life while also stretching me to the limit and (hopefully) making me a better person.

I think I already posted that Chopper smoked a brisket to celebrate -- and have you seen the size of briskets?  We needed to do it when we had lots of people around to help us eat it! 
So excited!
He really wanted me to take a picture of the smoke ring.  That's the pink line that encircles the meat.  This is not raw, it's some kind of reaction from the smoking and it's a good thing.  It was a very tasty thing!!

My dad had to get in on the action and get excited about boiling the corn on the cob . . . and people wonder why I'm weird . . .

  Yesterday we attempted some "new" family pictures before going to church.  And I thought getting the girls to smile together was hard.  We took lots of pictures and there are very few where the 5 of us look good!!  But it's the whole family and that's what matters.

 I wanted something simple and classic and couldn't find anything I liked -- for a price that I liked.  Holy cow!  I am now planning on going into business for blessing / christening / baptism clothing.  You can make a killing!  Anyway.  William instead wore this outfit and shoes that my brothers wore when they were blessed. It fit him perfectly and he was very handsome.

 This is so typical.  Megan's mad because she kept insisting that Sid be in the picture and I kept telling her to get him out.

 I don't know what my face is doing here.

But this one turned out pretty good.

Oh and a better picture of Grandma Whittacre with William.  She went home today but we had a really good weekend with her and were really glad to have her with us for the time that we could.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


It's a blessing weekend!  Chopper and I are excited to be blessing William in church tomorrow and are celebrating all weekend long.  My dad arrived last night and Chopper's mom is also here for the weekend to spend time with us and the kids.  Kids.  It's still an effort for me to say "kids" instead of "girls".  In fact, it's still an effort for me not to call William a girl.  Of course he looks all boy and acts all boy, but to this point all my terms of endearment are girly so I'm slowly getting in "handsome" and "sweet boy" rather than the things I've been saying for 4 years now!!

Anyway, I'll get better pictures of everyone this weekend (hopefully when we're all dressed up for church tomorrow), but Grandma Whittacre has just been loving every minute she has with the kids.

She insisted today on taking the girls to the mall and getting them each a Build-A-Bear.  It's hard to see but Megan is holding a Sid (yes the character from Ice Age) and he is wearing a yellow sun dress and has pink underwear and pink cowboy boots.  Abby wanted a rabbit with Rapunzel dress.  They really enjoyed stuffing the animals and washing them but choosing animals and outfits and such was a little overwhelming.

Abby's box was almost as big as her but she wanted to carry it out of the store.

As we were leaving, we saw my brother Jeff -- oh wait, it's just a mannequin.  But my brother looks almost exactly like that -- I'm not kidding -- the one in the dark pants and shirt.  Even my parents thought so!

Chopper's mom brought back the family tree I quilted for her last Christmas and I added William's name to it.  He's officially part of the family!!!

There's his name with the rest of us . . . 

I love this quote but I can't remember who said it -- one of the Apostles I think.  My mom is already chomping at the bit to have enough kids and grandkids to have a tree too!
The rest of the day will be spent watching the Olympics, climbing all over Grandpa, and Chopper of course is smoking a brisket, Texas-style.  Even though it's 103 degrees outside.  Now that's dedication to barbecue!